After a blowout victory over then-No. 3 North Carolina on Saturday, the Florida lacrosse team had momentum on its side heading into its matchup at No. 8 Syracuse on Wednesday.
However, that wasn’t enough to overcome the Orange, as the No. 4 Gators fell 17-15 at the Carrier Dome.
The Gators (4-2) ended the game on a five-goal run, but it was too little, too late in the end.
"After coming out a little flat, I am proud of the way this team came together and fought their way back in to the game,” Gators coach Amanda O’Leary said in a release.
Syracuse (4-1) featured the No. 1 scoring offense in the country, which has averaged 18.75 goals per game. They nearly matched that against the Gators. The Orange’s 17 goals were the most goals Florida’s defense has given up all year.
UF goalie Haley Hicklen was unable to adjust to Syracuse’s scoring attack. She made just seven saves, a season low for her.
The Gators dominated in the draw circle 23-11. Freshman defender Sabrina Cristodero won nine draw controls, while freshman midfielder Shannon Kavanagh and junior midfielder Sydney Pirreca won five each.
“I think we did a fantastic job in the draw circle today,” O’Leary said. “With Shannon (Kavanagh) giving Sabrina (Cristodero) and Syd (Pirreca) the ability to give us possession.”
Florida was able to capitalize on those possessions for the most part, especially in the first half.
UF got out to a fast start against the Orange, holding a 5-3 lead 10 minutes into the game. However, Syracuse answered and took a 9-8 lead into the break.
The Orange came out of the locker room with a scoring mindset. After they allowed a Shannon Kavanagh goal to tie the game at nine, they rattled off seven unanswered goals, to take a 16-9 lead.
In the final 13 minutes off the game, Florida rallied. It outscored Syracuse 6-1 but didn’t have enough time to complete the comeback.
Senior attacker Shayna Pirreca performed well once again, scoring four goals after her career-high six goals on Saturday.
Syracuse’s goalie, sophomore Asa Goldstock, was fantastic despite allowing 15 goals. She made 14 saves for a save percentage of .483.
Another bright spot for Florida was the play of senior midfielder Allie Pavinelli. She came off the bench and scored three goals in addition to winning two draw controls.
UF will have six days to reflect on the loss before coming back home to play No. 8 Navy on Tuesday at Donald R. Dizney Stadium.
But the Gators are determined to move past the loss quickly. O’Leary said that the team can hang its hat on a solid performance while looking forward.
“Syracuse played a great game today; give all the credit to them,” she said. “We will use the next few days to recover and prepare for a talented Navy team."